PHOTO 93-- Flight C-32 : September 17, 1983
|The C-400 motor takes to the sky for a second time.|
Adversity continued to haunt the rocket powered by this motor, as five seconds after burnout, the parachute ejected prematurely from the fast moving rocket. Immediately following the "pop" sound of the ejection charge, a loud ripping sound was heard. It was unclear what had happened at that moment, but the fully blossomed parachute was seen drifting downwind (which was brisk), with part of the rocket still tethered to it. A short while later, a "rushing air" sound was heard, followed by a "thud".
Apparently, the sudden tug of the parachute caused severe pitching of the rocket, resulting in the rocket breaking into two pieces, separating at the coupler which joined the upper and lower fuselages. The thud sound was the impact of the lower fuselage (and motor) with the ground; the upper fuselage (and payload) descended safely by parachute, and was recovered several hundred metres downrange. The upper fuselage was ripped open as a result of zippering by the parachute cable, but the electronic module was unscathed.